SAN FRANCISCO -- An investment conference held at a ski resort in Utah has got to have more than just hot investment tips floating around, especially when the conference's brochure cover sports a cool skier in action. Yeah, right.
Hambrecht & Quist's
conference, running March 1-3 at the
in Snowbird, Utah, is a forum for a plethora of public and privately held Internet companies. While many have already taken their dog-and-pony shows to at least one investment conference this year, H&Q's theme, called "Portfolio 2000," is something a little different than its predecessors. The new year may be less than 10 months away, but for some Internet investors,
is considered a long-term investment.
"We've focused on the cream of the crop of the Internet, both public and private," says Paul Noglows, an Internet analyst for H&Q. "These are the companies you need to know and need to own for the long term."
The conference will include virgins such as
-- H&Q is one of the underwriters for its upcoming IPO -- and
. Most of the other presenters have told their stale jokes and run their glitzy videotapes at other investment conferences hosted by
BancBoston Robertson Stephens
Irene Yu, an Internet analyst for
, says the smaller remote conferences allow for more one-on-one time with the companies' executives. "If you have
the conference in the Bay Area, management often comes in to do the presentation and then leaves," she says. "The way this one's set up, you are sort of isolated at one resort," and you may even get to go snowboarding with Bob Pittman, president and COO of
For other investment professionals, there seems to be a bit of conference overkill.
"There have been a lot
of conferences lately," says Quentin Ostrowski of
Compass Asset Management
, who just got back from the
J.P. Morgan Communications & Equipment Conference
and won't be in Snowbird. "There seems to be some overlap, and some people just need a break" from all of the travel and nonstop presentations.
"Same conference, different day," says one hedge fund manager who won't be attending. "People are generally getting conferenced out."
H&Q says about 400 institutional attendees will show up for the mix of R&R and work. "There has been a great preponderance of conferences, and there is nothing we can do about that," says H&Q's Noglows, who has been a
contributor. "All we can do is reach for differentiation by the quality of the companies we present, where we hold it and from the panels we put together.
Noglows adds, "Skiing is part of the draw, too. These people work very hard, and they can combine some fun with some serious work. "
But not everyone was enticed by the thought of five hours of free time each day for skiing and recreational activities. "I'm a workaholic, and I like it that way," says Suzanne Zak, CEO of
. Instead, she'll be at the
Morgan Stanley Business Services Conference
in New York. There is also a
conference in New York the following week.
H&Q hopes that its mix of big-name public Internet companies and new faces -- both public and private -- will set it apart from the herd of other recent conferences. "They want to find out about new companies they haven't seen before," says Noglows, and receive an update on companies they have seen.
Attendees are hoping to find answers to unanswered questions, like what's up with the proposed merger of
. A Monday morning panel will host
CEO David Wetherell and Lycos CEO Bob Davis, among others.